David Ramirez: Because it kills me to remember, and it kills me to forget

From the very moment David Ramirez opens his mouth, it is clear that  music is as much his medicine as it is his ailment.

David Ramirez crafts intensely destabilizing lyrics: raw and unadorned, his words pierce through the frivolous formalities of the conventional day-to-day that we have come to grow so accustomed to.  Well before even the end of the second verse, Ramirez leaves his listeners unsteady and exposed.. enveloped in emotions that we tell ourselves logically come from the mouth of the lone man on stage with the guitar but, logic aside, feel as if they have been transcribed word-for-word from the depths of our own musings.

I would have rambled on about all of this prior to experiencing David play live in Houston, insisting that you dedicate time to immersing yourself in Ramirez’s haunting Shoeboxes, Stick Around, and Argue with Heaven, which by the way was featured in the musical movie Between Notes much akin to the way Glen Hansard’s Falling Slowly was showcased in Once.  And finally, no such conversation would have been complete without insisting that, as with anything Ramirez-related, live recordings are in my mind infinitely more impactful. [ 3:44-4:00 of “The Bad Days” below says it all]

So then, how have I been affected, how has my perspective changed “post-experiencing David preform live?”  First, you may find the way I just phrased this experience strange as it has the ring of some sort of disease or condition like PTSD.  However, I think that this phrasing, although not calculated on my part, is nonetheless telling.

You will be hard-pressed to remain merely a passive listener to Ramirez’s live music for as you get closer and closer to the source, any source, the more powerless you are against it seeping deeper and deeper inside of you.  The experience of absorbing David’s music live then brought me as close as I could get to this source.

Yet, closer proximity to something does not necessarily guarantee greater understanding: rather, it very well may even have the exact opposite effect, obfuscating your perspective so that what looks like a towering pillar from one perspective is in reality is just an oddly-shapped, vaguely Ionic-reminscent grain of rice.

From whatever perspective you find yourself peering from, it seems clear that one thing remains constant: from the very moment  Ramirez opens his mouth, it is clear that music is as much his medicine as it is his ailment.  Even in the same breath as Ramirez sings in “Stick Around” about being “chained to that old open road,” you get the feeling that those same chains are the very things that he grasps for, that ground him.